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New records could unlock military connections for Australians this Anzac Day

Ancestry offering free access to all ANZAC records, including new WWII collections, this Anzac Day long weekend

Sydney, Australia, 22 April, 2016 – This year marks 100 years since the official naming of Anzac Day in 1916. To commemorate this historic anniversary Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genomics, is proud to provide free access to all of its Australian and New Zealand military records – including a new WWII collection - throughout the long weekend.

With a staggering 14 per cent of the population of Australia at the time fighting in WWII[i], this weekend is a perfect time for people to delve deeper into their family history to uncover their own war heroes, across various conflicts where the ANZACs served.

As well as being the centenary of the first commemoration of Anzac day, this year also marks the 75th anniversary of WWII battles in Greece and Crete in 1941, when Australia and New Zealand served together for the first time as ANZACs since WWI. During this period, 12,000 Allied troops were left in Crete following attacks from Germany. Of the 3,000 Australian troops on the island, 274 were killed in the campaign.

Key ANZAC collections free to search this weekend include the Australia WWII Service Records 1939-1945, the Australia WWI Military Book Collection and the Australia, WWI Service Records, 1914-1920. Through these records, Australians will be able to discover information such as the military campaigns in foreign countries, the history of military units along with rich details such as name, regiment, rank, appointment or discharge date, and awards for service personnel.

The new WWII collections include records of more than one million individuals who served in the Citizen Military Forces (CMF), 2nd Australian Imperial Force, RAAF Officers, NCOs and RAN Navy & Petty Officers. Additionally, the new collections include almost four million images - accessible through Ancestry[ii] - demonstrating the conditions soldiers lived in during WWI and WWII.

The new Australian WWII Service Records from the National Archives of Australia further add to Ancestry’s diverse ANZAC record collection, part of the world’s largest online collection of military records.

The ANZAC records free to explore this long weekend include, but are not limited to:

  • Australia WWI Military Book Collection
  • Australia WWI Service Records
  • Australia, WWI Service Records, 1914-1920
  • Australia, Imperial Force Burials At Gallipoli, 1915
  • ANZAC Memorial, 1914-1918
  • New South Wales, Australia, Cowra Military Camps Personnel Photo Index, 1905-1970
  • Australia, World War II Military Service Records, 1939-1945
  • Australia WWII Service Records
  • New Zealand Expeditionary Force Records
  • New Zealand, WWII Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Resignations

Ben Mercer, Senior Content Manager, Ancestry says; “Anzac Day serves as a good reminder to reflect on our war heroes and create personal connections to their stories via our own family trees. The new WWII records are the perfect starting point to help discover whether their ancestors did have a military past and remember them – especially considering 14 per cent of the population of the time fought in this war.

“Anzac Day is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices that our countrymen and women made, so it is important for Australians to have the opportunity to discover their family’s military connection. These records provide an opportunity to unlock clues that could shed light on the lives of our ancestors.”

David Fricker, Director-General of the National Archives of Australia says, ‘The war service records from the National Archives contain invaluable and intriguing genealogical information that highlight the vital role of Australian service men and women. Working with Ancestry to publish them online allows us to increase public access to these significant government records, making them more available than ever before. As we reflect upon Anzac Day, I encourage everyone to go online and explore.’

The collections will be free to search from open from 12.01AM AEST, Friday 22nd April until Monday 25th April at 11:59PM.[iii]

To access the collections, please visit:





[i]Australian Bureau of Statistics: Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012,2013

National Archives of Australia, 2016:

[ii] The indexes of the records in the new WWII collection are available on Ancestry. To view the image of the original record, users will be redirected from the Ancestry website to the Fold3 website. The WWII collection will be free to access on Ancestry and Fold3 for the duration of the Free Access weekend, after which users will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an paid membership.

Fold3 offers the web’s premier collection of original military records, gathering the best military records, photos and stories to help customers discover and share the stories of those who served. For more information about Fold3, visit

[iii]Access to the records in the featured collections will be free from 12:01am AEST on Friday 22 April until 11:59am AEST on Monday 25 April 2016. To view these records you will need to register for free with with your name and email address. You will then be sent a user name and password to access the records. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an paid membership.